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Rally Against US Invasion Of Iraq – Maxine Gay

Rally Against US Invasion Of Iraq – Maxine Gay

WELLINGTON, 12.30 PM, 18 MARCH 2006

Today is the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

An illegal invasion, based on distortions, half truths and outright lies.

An invasion that the US / UK axis, even with their massive propaganda and bribery machine, failed to get the UN and an overwhelming majority of the world’s countries to endorse.

Three years of war in Iraq is three years too many.

The amount of money that the US has pumped in to this illegal invasion is phenomenal. Over ONE TRILLION dollars. That's the cost of the war in Iraq, according to a new report by former World Bank and Nobel-prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz and co-author Linda Bilmes. Over ONE TRILLION dollars: • for an illegal invasion and occupation that has killed more than 100,000 Iraqi children, women and men -- and maimed the bodies and memories of countless thousands more. Over ONE TRILLION dollars: • to bankroll an ongoing war that has cost the lives of more than 2,300 U.S. soldiers and injured over 16,000 -- including 7,000 with brain, spinal cord, amputation and other serious injuries. Over ONE TRILLION dollars: • that could have instead been spent on vital needs in Iraq, the third world and also within the United States such as adequate health care, decent affordable housing, quality schools and job training. After 3 years of terror, the US /UK axis has failed in their stated aim to bring a functional democracy to Iraq. And how can one impose a “democracy” anyway?

Neither have the US / UK forces or their puppet government in Iraq been able to provide the Iraqi people with basic security. It seems the only area that the new government and its imperialist backers actually control is the few square kilometres of the Green Zone in the heart of Baghdad.

The international movement opposing the invasion was correct. This invasion was not about “weapons of mass destruction”, it was not about saving the Iraqi people from the brutal Saddam Hussein regime, it was not about defeating al-Qaeda. It was about oil, oil oil. Oil, wealth, power and global domination.

In this country we cannot hold our heads high in opposition to this war. Although our Government did not sign up for the actual invasion it was one of the first countries to offer that wonderful contradiction of military based humanitarian assistance. Although those “non-combat” troops have now been withdrawn the Government will still not come out in complete opposition to the invasion. It wants to curry favour with the US to try and get a US economic invasion of this country in the form of a Free Trade Agreement.

And our government is joining the eerie international chorus of condemnation of Iran for its nuclear power generation programme. Eerie because it is so similar the chorus of support for the invasion of Iraq that the US tried to whip up over three years ago. The people of Iran are possibly saved by the fact that the US has overstretched its supply lines and exhausted internal support for another war. But there is no telling what might happen.

In the end, when you get beneath the global politics, the lies, the deceit and the distortions what we are witnessing in Iraq is a humanitarian tragedy. As I have already said, estimates are that 100,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed since 18 March 2003. And all of these people leave behind a grieving family. It is too large for any of us here to comprehend.

The invasion must end. The war must be stopped. The Iraqi people must be allowed to live in peace and prosperity.

The invasion can be stopped now. But it will be generations before the wounds and scars of this of this invasion can be healed.

In the end the Iraqi people may not want our support, they may believe that the west has already done enough damage. But at least we can hold them in our thoughts and continue to do what we can to ensure that US force leave Iraq now and the US and its allies do not initiate a new oil war on another country and its people.


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